If you’re making plans for a long camping trip, you’re probably full of excitement. The adventures ahead will be memorable for a lifetime. But the planning process can be less than fun. In fact, it can be very stressful. What route should you take? Is a particular campground safe? Is my dog allowed to stay with me? There are so many questions to consider, and trip planning is necessary to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. So let’s take a look at five of our favorite resources to help you plan your adventure. The planning process can be just as fun as the camping trip itself. Let’s dive in!
Why Use An RV Trip Planner?
When it’s time for a road trip, nothing is more stressful than planning. You want to make sure you pack enough food, book your reservations early, and buy any necessary tickets. You don’t want to forget towels or kitchen gadgets or camping chairs.
One way you can ease that stress is to use trip-planning resources. Whether they’re apps you can download on your phone or websites you can visit, they’ll give you the peace of mind that you’ve made the proper preparations to have an enjoyable camping trip.
They’ll also help you stay on budget so you can enjoy a camping trip that’s affordable. Some of these resources will keep track of your expenses, estimate fuel costs, and provide overnight rates for area campgrounds.
In addition, they’ll help you keep your itinerary in one place. You don’t have sheets of paper to keep track of or multiple emails to sift through. These trip-planning resources can help you locate campgrounds, free disappeared campsites, dump stations, fuel centers, and more. By using these apps and websites, you can easily plan your next road trip adventure!
What To Look For In A Trip Planning App/Website
Before you just go downloading every trip planning app available, there are a few things to keep in mind. You want an app or website that is multi-faceted. You don’t want to download an app that only provides reviews of campgrounds. This is helpful, but you want to find a trip-planning resource that helps you in multiple ways.
Look at the features. Does it provide estimated fuel costs, campground reviews, location of dump stations, and RV-friendly directions? Although you probably won’t find everything you need in one resource, you definitely want each app or website to provide you with several helpful planning tools.
Finally, consider your camping style. If you only stay at developed campgrounds with full hook-ups and prefer to stay for at least a week or two at a time, then Harvest Hosts/Boondockers Welcome isn’t the right match for you. There’s no sense in becoming a member and using this trip-planning resource if you don’t dry camp and don’t want to move along after just one or two nights.
Top 5 Best Trip Planning Resources
Below are five of our favorite resources for planning a camping trip. You might not use all of these, but from this list, you’ll find one or two that add value to your planning process.
1. RV Trip Wizard with RV Life
RV Trip Wizard is one of the most popular trip-planning resources for RVers. There are over 20,000 campgrounds and over a million data points. It’s easy to filter by campground type like a state park, national park, COE, etc. You can also sort by amenities offered like full hook-ups, a swimming pool, a dog park, etc.
In addition to finding overnight accommodations, you can use RV Trip Wizard to find fuel centers, rest areas, dump stations, and more along your route. These data points help keep you on track if you only have a short amount of time for your camping trip. With the planning tool, you can put in the dates, where you’re staying overnight, and places you’re visiting to easily keep track of your itinerary.
Finally, RV Trip Wizard provides RV-safe GPS directions. This is critically important when taking a camping trip. RVs are much longer, taller, and heavier than standard vehicles. You can’t go over or under some bridges. You can’t drive through some narrow streets. By inputting your RV’s dimensions into RV Trip Wizard, you can rest assured that you’ll arrive safely at your destination.
2. Roadtrippers with Togo RV
Roadtrippers is very similar to RV Trip Wizard. Most RVers choose one or the other since they offer similar tools for trip planning. With Roadtrippers, you put in your starting location and destination for an RV-safe route. Roadtrippers also shows potential stops along the way like fuel centers, rest stops, and RV supply stores. You can add those stops to your route, and then the app will provide turn-by-turn navigation.
Togo RV also provides additional resources like a service and repair finder tool, tire discounts, campgrounds, free overnight parking, and more. When making a long journey, all of these extra resources come in handy. Hopefully, you never have to use the service and repair finder, but it’s comforting to know you have it in your back pocket should you need it.
3. KOA Trip Planner
If you enjoy staying at KOAs, you’ll want to consider the KOA Trip Planner. This app is specific to KOAs only, so if you don’t typically stay at these locations, this is a resource that won’t be helpful. But RVers who prefer KOAs to state parks or private campgrounds will appreciate having the entire system at their fingertips.
With over 500 locations across North America, the KOA system alone can probably get you from your starting point to your ultimate destination. The trip planner allows you to search for campgrounds in a certain area and look up information and amenities about a specific KOA. You can also easily book your reservation, which makes this resource a great addition to your toolbox if you prefer KOA campgrounds. Finally, you can save your camping preferences for future trips, which makes the planning process even easier.
Campendium is a massive database of campgrounds and other resources for RVers. The app provides reviews of each location, which can be very helpful in determining if it’s a safe place to stay or whether your 45-foot toy hauler will fit. Like the other trip planning tools, you can search for specific criteria like a public campground, free overnight parking, dump stations, or pet-friendliness. You can also sort by price, size of your rig, and hook-ups.
The unique feature of Campendium is that it relies heavily on user-submitted data. You can even submit a new location if you discover that a campground or free camping spot isn’t listed. User reviews are critical to the success of this trip-planning tool, so always leave feedback for other users. Campendium doesn’t offer turn-by-turn navigation or route planning, but it’s a great resource to use when searching for overnight accommodations and other services like portable water fill-up locations and fuel centers.
5. Harvest Hosts/Boondockers Welcome
Harvests Hosts and Boondockers Welcome is a membership subscription with an annual fee. Although many of these locations only offer one-night stays, some will allow you to camp for multiple nights. You’ll also find hook-ups at some locations for travelers who don’t like to or don’t have the capacity to dry camp.
There are thousands of hosts from wineries to farms to personal properties who participate in this membership program. You can search along your route to find an overnight destination that suits your needs. Pay special attention to rig size limits, whether or not pets are allowed, and the amenities provided. Read the reviews left by other members to get a good feel for whether or not it’s a place you want to add to your trip itinerary.
Find the Best Route and Enjoy Your Camping Adventure
When it comes to planning a camping trip, it doesn’t have to be stressful. You don’t have to wait to enjoy the adventure the day it begins. Enjoy the planning process with these helpful resources even before you hit the road. Explore area attractions, find the cheapest fuel stations, and choose an RV-friendly route so that you can fully enjoy the adventure!
Do you have a favorite resource for planning your camping trips that you’d add to our list?